For centuries, violinists got by without chin rests, or shoulder rests. However, they increasingly started being used over the last century when some players became more concerned about the bad posture and the shoulder tension that comes about as you play, especially in long sessions. Most classical players will use them occasionally, but ultimately the best violin shoulder rest that's properly fitted will greatly benefit a budding violin player.

Not being comfortable means that you're not making the best out of your violin. Therefore, the best violin shoulder rest is not only an essential accessory for beginners but also for all violinists. The right shoulder rest will be the major difference in your posture and technique.

Ultimately, picking the best shoulder rest comes down to personal preference, but it also depends on your neck height, body structure, playing style, the shape of your violin, and your chinrest. Overall, the goal of these shoulder rests is to give you tension-free support, but everyone is built differently, so this approach might not work.

Although there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, some good quality shoulder rests in the market that works great for many professional violinists and students. In this post, we list down some of the best violin shoulder rests currently.

The best violin shoulder rest choices are not only based on our preferences but also on hundreds of violin shoulder rest reviews by violin teachers and students who've personally used them. All popular violin shoulder rests work and offers a comfortable solution for different violinists. As opposed to having a short neck and a more generous neck length, you'll want to keep your chin in a comfortable position that won't lead to any ache.

Why You Need A Shoulder Rest?

Normally, to help develop the correct violin posture, beginners are advised to use a shoulder rest at the very start. The best violin shoulder rests for you will prevent you from hunching over your musical instrument or stretching out your neck. This helps you eliminate the potential bad posture habits right from the start.

A great quality shoulder rest helps remove the pressure on your collarbone by your violin, which could be quite uncomfortable and painful in the long run. Additionally, it'll help ensure comfort all through, especially if you're doing rigid practices and pieces such as scales.

There are some violinists who'd still pass up on using a shoulder rest since they prefer to feel things a little rawer. Either way, it's entirely your choice, but at times, it depends on what your teacher recommends, especially if you are just starting.

What Type of Shoulder Rest Will Fit You Best?

You'll first need to identify the type of shoulder rest that will meet your requirements. For example, you might be looking for a soft-touch shoulder rest for more comfort for your shoulder. Or you might be looking for one that's not as soft and that holds your violin set firmly in place.

Also, consider your body structure. For example, consider aspects such as your shoulder breadth and neck height.

Many shoulder rests are adjustable to provide a more comfortable curve that fits your shoulder for extra comfort. Alternatively, you can adjust its position or slide it further down to find what works for you best.

Will Using the Best Violin Shoulder Rest Affect the Sound of The Violin?

Sponge and cloth shoulder rests pressed directly on the back of your violin may cause some muting since your violin will resonate a little less. On the other hand, bar-style shoulder rests have fewer touch-points, so it won't really affect your tone as much. Furthermore, some wooden rests provide more resonance.

Here are some options that'll definitely give you your favorite shoulder rest.

1. Kun Original 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest

Sale
Kun Original 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest
  • Brand: kun
  • Product Code: 830300
  • Kun premium quality
  • 4/4 size

Kun is a reputable brand with a cult following that's popular for its great quality musical instruments. It's no wonder it ranks high as the best violin shoulder rest. The Kun brand has been dealing with shoulder rests for over forty years and has various models from different materials to offer everyone an option.

The Kun Original shoulder rest is a traditional leg-styled rest that comes in an anatomically focused form. It's built to provide a delicate curve that comfortably sits on your shoulder and is firm enough to stop your violin from sliding.

This Kun shoulder rest comes at an affordable price but is also well-built using a strong ABS substance. It is generally designed for full-size violins with legs that feature 4 extra adjustment holes to accommodate different body shapes, especially if your violin is a little more traditional in style. In addition, the Kun shoulder rest has feet that can easily be adjusted in height from 1.5-2cm to give your violin a little extra lift.

Key Specifications:

  • Material: strong ABS substance
  • Violin size: 3/4 and 4/4
  • Color: 4/4 size
  • Item dimensions (LxWxH): 7 x 2 x 3 inches
  • Instrument: Violin
  • Weight: 68 g

PROS

  • Anatomically curved for extra comfort for different body structures
  • Adjustable feet to accommodate different body shapes, especially, if your violin is traditional in style
  • Generally designed for full-size violins
  • Affordably priced
  • The modern cheaper alternative to the traditional footed shoulder rest
  • Better quality that doesn't damage your violin
  • Great adjustability
  • Solid design to provide maximum stability
  • Modeled after its predecessors to provide the same practicality but in a cheaper model

CONS

  • Works best for full-sized violins

2. Wolf Forte Secondo

Wolf Forte Secondo Violin Shoulder Rest...
  • Adjustable in height from 1-1/4" to a full 3", Willy Wolf shoulder rests have long been favorites of professional violinists and violists
  • Curved bar contacts more body area for secure hold
  • Height and pitch adjustable
  • Sliding width adjustment allows for unlimited positioning along the instrument body
  • The Wolf Forte Secondo shoulder rests are adjustable in both height and width and feature a crescent shaped pad designed for the player with narrower shoulders

One of the leading reasons many go for a Wolf Forte Secondo shoulder rest is its reasonable price and ergonomic flexibility. You can adjust the shape, height, width, and tilt of your Wolf shoulder rest, and it's still one of the most affordable shoulder rests in the market that offers this level of flexibility.

It is mainly made of comfortable rubber and topped with a flexible aluminum plate that allows you to shape it however it feels most comfortable. This works great If you have a long neck because you can adjust its height on either side by 0.5-8 cm. Here's a little fun fact, Sarah Chang uses this specific shoulder rest.

Key Specifications:

  • Materials: Comfortable rubber and Aluminium plate
  • Item dimensions (LxWxH): 21.84 x 73.66 x.17 cm
  • Adjustable height: Yes
  • Adjustable width: Yes
  • Weight: 68 g
  • Violin Sizes: 3/4 and 4/4

PROS

  • Shape, height, width, and tilt can be adjusted
  • Wide crescent shape with a thick foam
  • Well suited for violinists with longer necks
  • Generous height adjustment
  • Low-price
  • Bendable metal base that can be shaped to fit different shoulder shapes
  • Available in different sizes and colors

CONS

  • Legs easily pop off the instrument

3. Bonmusica 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest

Sale
Bonmusica 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest
  • Fits 4/4 Violin
  • Height and Width Adjustable
  • Padded Curved Adjustable Base For Precise Fit
  • Great For Players With Previous Injuries Or Arthritis
  • Made in Germany

The Bon Musica shoulder rest comes with a height, angle, and width that's completely adjustable to custom fit different players. Alternatively, you can adjust it to hook over your shoulder to offer firm hold of your guitar, so it won't slide down as you play.

It comes in a flexible metal that can easily be shaped to fit the exact shape of your shoulder and collarbone. This shoulder rest is well suited for advanced violinists and players with longer necks. Here's a little fun fact, Hilary Hahn uses the Bon Musica shoulder rest.

Key Specifications:

  • Materials: Flexible metal with a foam padding
  • Size: Varies on your size
  • Adjustable height: Yes
  • Adjustable width: Yes
  • Weight: 136 g
  • Violin Sizes: 1/16 to 4/4

PROS

  • Adjustable height, angle, width, and tilt
  • Metal base that's bendable and can be shaped to fit different shoulder shapes
  • Flexible shaping to help it not to slip off your shoulder
  • Well built for advanced violinists and players with a longer neck

CONS

  • Relatively pricey compared to the restThin foam cushion
  • Rectangular, pointy angles could spoil the varnish of your violin if you're not careful
  • A little bulky

4. Wolf Forte Primo Violin Shoulder Rest Violin 4/4-3/4 Size

Wolf Forte Primo Violin Shoulder Rest...
  • Forte Primo Violin Shoulder Rest Violin 4/4-3/4 Size
  • Adjustable in height from 1-1/4" to a full 3-1/4", Willy Wolf shoulder rests have long been favorites of professional violinists and violists
  • Height and pitch adjustable using swiveling legs
  • The bar is metal with a foam rubber strip and can be bent to conform to the individual player
  • Fits 4/4 and 3/4 violins

Wolf Forte Primo shoulder rest is another flexible and adjustable shoulder rest favorite among many violinists. It is made of metal that's bendable and covered using a foam strip, so you can easily adjust its curve to fit your play position.

This shoulder rest model can also slightly rotate once it's on the violin to help its feet to stay put as you play. The width between its two feet can also be adjusted by bending.

Key Specifications:

  • Materials: Bendable metal and foam strip
  • Item dimensions (LxWxH): 9.9 x 2.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Weight: 45.4 g
  • Adjustable height: Yes
  • Adjustable height: Yes
  • Adjustable pitch: Yes
  • Violin size: 4/4 and 3/4

PROS

  • Completely adjustable and customizable height and pitch using the swiveling legs
  • Works for violinists with long necks
  • Well built for intermediate and advanced violinists
  • Adjustable width between its two feet

CONS

  • It might be somewhat difficult for beginners to set up at first which can be a little time consuming

5. EVEREST EZ-4A Adjustable Violin Shoulder Rest

The Everest shoulder rest is made out of solid plastic with a foam material that covers its base. It has an easy set-up, which is ideal for most violin teachers. The rest of the shoulder firmly grips onto the violin, meaning that it won’t fall off as the kid's practice.

It's one of the most affordable and ergonomic shoulder rests in the market and a great option for anyone working with a budget and still wants a customizable rest. Different versions of Everest rests come with foldable feet that'll need less space for easy storage in your violin case. Additionally, the rubber feet are replaceable if you ever lose them.

Key Specifications:

  • Materials: Soft plastic with foam padding
  • Item dimensions: 21.5 x 5.5 x 6 cm
  • Adjustable height: Yes
  • Adjustable width: Yes
  • Weight: 91 g
  • Violin sizes: 1/10 to 4/4

PROS

  • Affordable shoulder rest
  • Customizable and adjustable for a good grip on your violin
  • The shoulder pad is pre-shaped
  • Lightweight construction

CONS

  • Made from plastic that can easily break
  • A pre-shaped base might not fit some specific shoulder shapes

6. Pirastro Korfker Violin Shoulder Rest

Pirastro Korfker Violin Shoulder Rest is one of the most premium options in the market. It is made from tonewood that's bendable, lightweight, and fully adjustable.

As a premium product, it comes with the ErgoPack containing joints, spare pads, locking rings, screws, and a Torx screwdriver. Some professional violinists would swear by this shoulder rest, and many say it enhances the sound and resonance of music instruments.

The only thing you might need to note is that unlike other pad rests, this tonewood and foam shoulder rest doesn't 'hug' the body of your violin but still has the same positive effect on the sound. In addition, it is extremely lightweight and comfortable for violinists who play for long.

Key Features:

  • Materials: Wood and foam padding
  • Adjustable height: Yes
  • Adjustable width: Yes
  • Weight: 32 g
  • Violin sizes: 4/4 and Viola
  • Instrument: Violin and Viola

PROS

  • Construction that enriches sound
  • Fully customizable in height, width, and shape
  • Works well for people with short necks
  • Fit is quite secure, which works well small violins
  • Made of bendable wood
  • Light ergonomic shoulder rest
  • Easy storage with the collapsable feet
  • High-quality materials and construction

CONS

  • Relatively pricey
  • Too low for players with long necks
  • It can be a little difficult to adjust

7. Kun Collapsible 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest

Kun Collapsible 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest
  • Brand: KUN
  • Product Code: 830350
  • KUN Premium Quality
  • 4/4 Size

Here is a Canadian-made shoulder rest that comes in different instrument sizes and various models to cover different market needs. It has a unique shape built from composite material to make it lightweight and comfortable while playing.

It comes with a special locking device to ensure that it doesn't fully rotate to protect the instrument from undue damage. As if that's not enough, it is foldable, making it quite easy to store and take with you during trips.

This collapsible Kun rest is a favorite for many amateur and professional violinists. Here's a little fun fact, Chloe Hanslip uses this Kun collapsible shoulder rest.

Key Specifications:

  • Materials: Plastic and foam padding
  • Item dimensions: 17.8 x 5.1 x 7.6 cm
  • Adjustable height: Yes
  • Adjustable width: Yes
  • Weight: 68 g
  • Violin sizes: 1/8 – 4/4

PROS

  • Adjustable in height and angle
  • Pre-shaped shoulder pad
  • Lightweight
  • Collapsible shoulder rest

CONS

  • The composite material makes it less durable
  • A pre-shaped base that's not adjustable to different shoulder shapes

8. EVEREST EZ-4A Violin Shoulder Rest 4/4 Size - Adjustable

Here's another thin option that's affordably priced and doesn't swivel. You can individually adjust each leg to provide better stability and give your instrument a tighter grasp. This aspect makes them durable feet since they are locked into place.

It can adjust its height range by around half an inch, while the feet can be well-positioned on ¾ and full-sized violins. This shoulder rest also accommodates a 13/14 inch viola.

It has foam on the underside to give your collarbone some cushioning, while the curve is not so prominent to encourage proper posture. Its feet are also coated to ensure that your violin stays in its pristine condition. It has a synthetic composition meaning it's virtually indestructible, although the foam might need replacements from time to time.

Key Specifications:

  • Materials: Plastic and foam padding
  • Adjustable height: Yes
  • Adjustable width: Yes
  • Violin Sizes: 1/16 – 4/4
  • Instrument: Violin and Viola

PROS

  • Adjustable in height and tilt
  • Durable and hard-wearing
  • Coated feet so it won't spoil your instrument
  • Affordable price

CONS

  • Not as comfortable compared to some of its competitors

What Factors to Consider for the Best Violin Shoulder Rest?

A) Size

A great shoulder rest should fit you perfectly; it's not necessarily a one-size-fits-all kind of accessory. The size of your violin shoulder rest depends on your body shape. Consider your shoulder breadth and the height of your neck to make sure you get the right fit. Some violin shoulder rests are fully adjustable, which might actually be the best option for a budding player.

B) Adjustability

Most shoulder rests are fully adjustable in several different ways. You can check for the violin shoulder rest reviews to understand how the brand you're looking at works. Some allow you to adjust the height by tightening or loosening the screws that are attached to the feet, while some have an adjustable strap for this.

An adjustable rest also allows you to adjust the distance between its feet to place it closer to the edge of your violin for less shoulder tension. Some shoulder rests also allow you to bend its curve shape to fit your shoulder and collarbone for correct posture while you play. Finally, some shoulder rests will allow you to bend them towards or away from yourself after attaching them to the violin to adjust their angle.

C) Comfort

 Ultimately, a good violin shoulder rest for you should be comfortable. Some come with in-built padding in shape that's contoured to your body shape. After trying a couple on, you'll find that some shoulder rests feel more comfortable than others while others feel just a little bit awkward.

D) Portability

Many violin cases might not come with a designated place for your shoulder rest, although you can always squeeze it in the space next to the violin scroll. If you only have some small space in your case, then you could consider a collapsible model or sponge rests, which can also be placed in the outer pocket of your violin case.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Violin Shoulder Rest

1. Do pro violinists also use a shoulder rest or chin rest?

Whether to use a chinrest or shoulder rest entirely depends on your personal preference. There are great violinists who play using different brands of chinrest or shoulder rest, and there are those who play without.

2. Which side should the shoulder rest be on?

The shoulder rest is attached to the back of your violin, after which it rests on your shoulder and collarbone. It has a two-fold purpose: To help you play the violin comfortably even during long sessions and enable proper playing posture to prevent injury.

3. How to store a violin shoulder rest?

Some violin cases come with a compartment for this. Usually, there's some space under the neck of your violin to store a standard shoulder rest. You might need to rotate the rubber feet of your shoulder rest to store it.

4. Why is my shoulder rest falling off a lot?

Check whether the rubber band that prevents the feet from turning is parallel. Put the rubber band around the corner and the foot of the violin to avoid the side of your shoulder rest from slipping. For a secure hold, you can slide the shoulder rest down a little on your violin or viola.

5. Does the violin and viola use the same shoulder rest?

Shoulder rests come in the same size as the instrument, so a violin 4/4 shoulder rest would be the perfect shoulder rest designed for a 4/4 or a full-size violin. The recommended brands in our guide come in different sizes and are adjustable.

6. How should a shoulder rest fit?

The violin shoulder rest should form a smooth contour on the shoulder of the player. Depending on your body shape, the shoulder rest best fits when it cups the upper part of your back to support the violin well at the front.

7. Does playing the violin make people smarter?

Research and studies show that violin lessons help boost overall memory and increase mental capacities. Playing the violin can also help improve your language processing, reading skills, attention, and speech span. Research also shows that children and teenagers who play the violin have a stronger verbal and visual pattern capacity compared to those who play other instruments.

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